Self-care tips for COVID-related anxiety

Many Canadians are feeling tired from COVID news, protocols, and want to get back to “normal” while others are still feeling worried or concerned about returning to school or work due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19.
 
The past couple years has been overwhelming for many, and many of us are still struggling with what we’re seeing in the news, watching case numbers rise, or still aren’t ready to “get back to normal”.
 
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help you feel more in control. Here are some tips to help take care of yourself:
 
1. Make sure information is credible and up-to-date. Stay accurately informed by checking information provided by experts and credible sources. A lot of information is disseminated about COVID-19 every day, but not all of it is accurate.

A person sitting on a chair on a balcony looking out to greenery with text: Self-Care course information.2. Write down your worries. It may be helpful to write down worries and concerns and use this to identify some practical steps you can take to address those issues. Identify the specific feelings you are experiencing and the concern/worry that may be underlying each of these feelings. CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) recommends challenging worries and anxious thoughts as many are simply beliefs we hold, and have an exercise to help with this. 

3. Express your feelings. For some, writing about their experience can be helpful, particularly if they find it difficult to talk about it. Although some distress is normal during this process, if you find writing down your experience too distressing or overwhelming, don’t continue. There are many other ways to express your feelings that you may find helpful, such as drawing, painting, playing music, making collages etc.
 
4. Accept help when it’s offered. The ongoing pandemic is affecting people who have never had a reason to access government or crisis support services. Getting help can be uncomfortable for some people who are not used to asking for or accepting assistance. However, there is no reason not to accept the kindness of others now – you would help them if the situation was reversed.
 
5. Connect with others. Grief, loss, shock, sadness, and stress can make you feel like isolating yourself from others. It may be helpful to remember that many people are feeling the same as you and will share your journey of recovery. Shutting yourself off from others is unlikely to make the situation any better. Look for formal support, either online or by phone, that can help you during high-stress times, such as distress lines, online support groups, or other resources in your community.
 
CAMH also has a coping strategies and personal assessment tools to help you manage your stress and anxiety as we live with COVID-19.
 
To help manage stress and anxiety in your life in an ongoing basis, consider taking a self-care first aid course. Learn more at redcross.ca/PFA.
 
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